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The employer got my wife to sign a contract that stated maternity benefits only accrue after 1 year of working with the company. However, this is contradictory to the 80 days mentioned in the act. While my wife is currently on unpaid leave from work, the two-month period to appeal to the labour inspector against this communication given by the employer has elapsed. What remedy is available, if any, so that we may get maternity benefits?
From India, New Delhi

80 days given in the Act as qualifying service for getting maternity benefits is not without any condition but with it is 80 days in 12 months preceding the expected date of delivery. As such, my interpretation is that in order to be eligible for maternity benefits, the employee should have worked for at least 80 days in 12 months preceding the date of delivery.
From India, Kannur

If the intention of the legislature was to entitle a women employee for MB soon after working for 80 days under one employer,the words " in the twelve months immediately preceding the date of her expected delivery " were unnecessary.

From India, Thiruvananthapuram

You can move to the Court simultaneously complaint in the nearest Labour Officer. The employer can't restrain one by any illegal contract, which is against the prevailing laws of the state/country.
The eligibility for MB is working of 80 days after start of employment.

From India, Mumbai

Mr. Brijesh,

I do not see a relevance of the '2 month time to report / appeal' part.
The law applies and contracting out your statutory rights isn't recognised by law
So your wife is eligible and can claim the maternity benefit.
She can appeal to the labour commissioner (authority under Maternity Benefit Act) irrespective of what contract she signed (as long as she was an employee, not an independent contractor)

From India, Mumbai
Thank you to all for taking out time to reply to this thread. I was mistaken about the 2 month appeal period. The act states that you may complain to labour commissioner and if your aggrieved about the award of the inspector then you may appeal within 2 months. So the question was wrongly worded by me. Sorry. The gist i get is that we are eligible and section 27 of the act also states the same thing that MB under the act will prevail notwithstanding any service contract . Appreciate all the replies especially Saswata for precise advice. Thanks and regards
From India, New Delhi
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